This year we commemorate the 76th anniversary of the use of atomic weapons over Japan. A 14-kiloton uranium bomb exploded at Hiroshima on August 6, and a 20-kiloton plutonium bomb on August 9 was dropped over Nagasaki. As many as 225,000 people, most of whom were civilians, died.
Debates continue to this day over the impact of these bombings on the Japanese surrender that ended World War II. Not in doubt is that tens of thousands of Japanese civilians were intentionally targeted, and slaughtered or maimed by two small nuclear detonations.
In its 1996 Opinion, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”
That same year, in 1996, the first meeting of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) was held. CNANW’s 17 member organizations include faith communities, professional groups, peace research and women’s organizations – all of which work in various ways toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Today, nearly 13,000 nuclear warheads still remain, more than 90% of them belong to Russia and the United States. Average explosive yields are many times the destructive capacity of the bombs dropped over Japan in 1945.
Across the world, commemorative events are held to remind us of the terrible cost and ongoing dangers of nuclear arms races and the potential impact of even a limited nuclear missile exchange. Yet, the nine official and unofficial nuclear-armed states are intent on retaining, rebuilding and modernizing their warheads.
In Canada this week there are commemorative events in
Ottawa, Lantern Ceremony, Friday August 6, 7:30 PM (ET) 5th Avenue/Queen Elizabeth Driveway along the Rideau Canal.
Toronto, Hope for the Earth, August 6, 7:00 PM (ET)
Vancouver, Seaforth Peace Park Flame, August 6 from 6 to 7:30 PM.
(Cornwall and Burrard in Vancouver Centre)
Calgary, Peace Memorial Weekend, August 6-8 (Lantern Ceremony, Film Fest, Messages for Peace video)
Edmonton: Project Ploughshares’ annual commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a webinar on Saturday, August 7th at 1 p.m (MT), with Cesar Jaramillo (Executive Director of Project Ploughshares), Hon. Douglas Roche, Kirsten Mosey and Paula Kirman, president of Project Ploughshares Edmonton.
Halifax: Nova Scotia Voice of Women have organized a bell ringing at City Hall from 11AM to Noon on August 6.
Canadian premiere of The Vow from Hiroshima screening
We encourage all to participate and to contribute in ways that speed us towards a world free of nuclear weapons.